Lockheed Martin’s T-50A test pilot, Elliott Clemence, has crossed the 100-flight hour milestone while carrying out an annual proficiency check ride in Greenville, South Carolina, US.

In February 2016, the company confirmed plans to offer the T-50A for the US Air Force’s (USAF) advanced pilot training (APT) competition.

Clemence said: “The T-50A is an extraordinary aircraft to fly in that it’s docile enough to teach new pilots basic airmanship skills and also capable of training them in the advanced tactical environment.

“When you blend that aircraft capability with our ground-based training system, it takes training to an entirely new level.”

In August 2016, a new final assembly and checkout (FACO) facility and operations centre was officially opened by the company in Greenville, while the flight operations first started at the site in November of the same year.

“When you blend that aircraft capability with our ground-based training system, it takes training to an entirely new level.”

An upgraded version of the T-50 family of aircraft, the T-50A will be used to train the future pilots of the USAF’ F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II aircraft, in addition to the frontline fourth-generation aircraft.

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More than 150 T-50 aircraft are currently in service.

Equipped with new technologies, Lockheed Martin’s T-50A ground-based training system is integrated with the aircraft for live, virtual, constructive (LVC) training.

In November last year, the company test pilot Mark Ward attained a record by becoming the first pilot to reach 100 flight hours in the T-50A aircraft.